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Building Capability

What Are the Benefits of Embedding Learning with Performance Management when Building Organisational Capabilities?

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Performance management is the ongoing practice of improving your employees’ performance through goal-setting, planned performance and performance reviews. To be effective, performance management should provide learning opportunities to enable employees to develop capabilities and meet business objectives. 

What are the benefits of embedding learning with performance management when building organisational capabilities? 

Embedding learning within performance management is just one way to ensure post-training enablement, AKA a very important part of the capability building equation. But it’s also useful for uncovering latent training needs. 

Frequent performance reviews can mitigate performance issues before they become a business problem. There’s potential for managers to proactively uncover performance needs before they’re an issue, or flag high potential employees for leadership tracks.  

With regular feedback on performance, continuous learning and a clear idea of career progression, satisfaction is likely to increase amongst your workforce. Employees want purpose, and frequent, scheduled discussions around their performance and goals demonstrates your investment in them. Increased employee engagement coupled with continuous training to assist their career growth is also more likely to lower turnover. 

The challenges of embedding learning with performance management when building organisational capability 

It’s not always simple to create a symbiotic relationship between performance management and capability building.  

As a starting point, performance management has long been considered its own HR process. Shifting to business alignment means you and your team have to shift your mental model. This is often the real challenge for organisations implementing capabilities for the first time, particularly when setting goals for an endeavour like this.  

You have to think in terms of what learning means for the business—and then provide managers with the tools to translate that to the performance of their direct reports. Any metrics you attach to a specific learning journey should be easily understood by employees in order to effectively incentivise them. Without a clear idea of how they’re performing, your employees will be unable to hold themselves accountable to learning, making it a moot point to embed it in performance management at all. 

The impacts of not embedding learning with performance management 

The moment your performance management no longer includes embedded learning, it ceases to be performance management.  

Learning is an essential part of performance. It’s not enough to understand capabilities in theory, because the capability “Coach talent” can mean many different things in practice to different employees. Managers may start coaching employees to work in conflicting ways, even within the same function. That’s before we consider how fast industry changes; your managers, through performance management, guide employees to learn not only as they need, but as your business goals stretch or evolve.  

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